What you need to know:
Advantage.Experts say Ugandan and Tanzanian farmers enjoy distinct advantages over their Kenyan counterparts.
Kampala. Kenya is increasingly becoming a market for agriculture products from Uganda and Tanzania.
According to the 2015 economic survey, massive imports of unmilled maize and sugar from the two countries boosted their trade with Kenya by 27.2 per cent in 2014 compared with the previous year.
This is good news for the two states that are major destinations for Kenya’s industrial products.
Kenya faced a maize shortage for part of last year while the perennial sugar shortage of about 300,000 metric tonnes provides a ready market for members of the trading bloc.
The East African Community trade protocol allows countries unrestricted market access across the boundaries.
“Imports from the East African Community grew by 27.2 per cent to Sh36.66 billion in 2014 with those from Uganda and Tanzania jointly amounting to Sh35.9 billion,” the survey says. To underscore the importance of the Kenya market to Uganda, slightly more than half of the total value of imports from the country during the review comprised tobacco, sugar and unmilled maize.
On the other hand, unmilled maize accounted for 35.9 per cent of the total imports from Tanzania.
Agriculture experts say Ugandan and Tanzanian farmers enjoy distinct advantages over their Kenyan counterparts because of lower production costs. These include richer soils and a favourable land tenure system that allows large-scale farming.
“The production regime structure in Uganda is lower as there is no much pressure to produce maize because it is not their staple food. They also have diversified food sources. In Tanzania, they have expansive farmland (and) therefore enjoy economies of scale (buying in bulk hence lower cost per unit),” Mr Alfred Busolo, the interim director-general of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Authority, said.